THE CRATER ON THE OTHER SIDE:
After parking the car at the parking lot of Meteor Crater, Arizona and getting out you are enticed by a number of signs in the form of dinosaur footprints preparing us to be ready for the ‘IMPACT’ guiding us towards the entrance of the visitor center. This strategy was enough to arouse one’s curiosity and on top of that you could see tiny human forms at a distance strolling on an elevated ridge, obviously observing the till then mysterious crater on the other side kept hidden from those yet to purchase a ticket. And because what you’re visiting is essentially buried below ground level (this isn’t strictly true as the impact created a ridge around the hole) you get no sense of how far off you are.
The ticket counter-yes ,that is what you come to first before entering – wasn’t much crowded. I thought maybe nobody was interested in seeing a big hole in the ground, but later on it did get crowded…all the late risers had come for their weekend time-out. When we heard the price of the ticket we sort of baulked. It was a little pricey compared to what there was to see but since I hadn’t seen it anyway it was a little premature for me to judge. And we were in a hurry to go back to Phoenix and the crater being just on the other side of the door we went in .
On entering we first came to an open, well maintained patio which was picture-pretty. On one side of the patio there was a long brick wall with a huge window through which you could see the vast desert and the vaster blue sky with beautiful floating clouds …the perfect backdrop to take a photo .There was also an Astronaut Wall of Fame and an Apollo boilerplate command module -all these gave a feeling of experiencing something extra-terrestrial – arousing the curiosity of anybody willing to know about life beyond the mundane and those of stars and skies and meteors and meteorites.
While we were all engrossed in reading the names on the Astronaut Wall of Fame the ever alert and sensible Rhonda told us there was a movie about to start in a few minutes in the theater inside. We all scrambled in so not to miss it.
It was hot outside and the Visitor Center gave us respite from the heat .The inside was rather informative with a small museum consisting of display boards giving information on astrology ,astronomy , geography and history all combined in one. It also gave me time to ponder on what actually a meteor and a crater were.
Whatever I had learned from both Titir’s and my schoolbooks about meteors and meteorites were obviously forgotten after reading. So the necessary data from the displays came in handy.